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Too Close to Call: The Thirty-Six-Day Battle to Decide the 2000 Election Paperback – October 8, 2002
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From the Hardcover edition.
From the Inside Flap
Packed with news-making disclosures and written with the drive of a legal thriller, Too Close to Call takes us inside James Baker's private jet, through the locked gates to Al Gore's mansion, behind the covered-up windows of Katherine Harris's office, and even into the secret conference room of the United States Supreme Court. As the scene shifts from Washington to Austin and into the remote corners of the enduringly strange Sunshine State, Toobin's book will transform what you thought you knew about the most extraordinary political drama in American history.
The Florida recount unfolded in a kaleidoscopic maze of bizarre concepts (chads, pregnant and otherwise), unfamiliar people in critically important positions (the Florida Supreme Court), and familiar people in surprising new places (the Miami relatives of Elian Gonzalez, in a previously undisclosed role in this melodrama). With the rich characterization that is his trademark, Toobin portrays the prominent strategists who masterminded the campaigns--the Daleys and the Roves--and also the lesser-known but influential players who pulled the strings, as well as the judges and justices whose decisions determined the final outcome. Toobin gives both camps a treatment they have not yet received--remarkably evenhanded, nonpartisan, andentirely new.
The post-election period posed a challenge to even the most zealous news junkie: how to keep up with what was happening and sort out the important from the trivial. Jeffrey Toobin has now done this--and then some. With clarity, insight, humor, and a deep understanding of the law, he deconstructs the events, the players, and the often Byzantine intricacies of our judicial system. A remarkable account of one of the most significant periods in our country's history, Too Close to Call is endlessly surprising, frequently poignant, and wholly addictive.
"From the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Unlike (perhaps) the other reviewers of this book, I have hands-on experience with punch-card ballot counting machines, software and procedures. I can say without qualification if you want to be absolutely sure, you have to look at the ballots themselves. The voting machines mis-calibrate, voters and others mishandle the cards, the counting machines jam possibly losing or double-counting a ballot. Anyone who has used a copier has a sense of how much trust we should place in these devices.
Toobin briefly describes the events, legal issues, political maneuvering and, in particular, the failure of Florida's elected officials to do the jobs the citizens entrusted to them. He has criticism for many of the participants and particularly Katherine Harris, Joe Lieberman, Theresa Lapore and Sanders Sauls. If you admire any of those people, you won't like this book.
Several reviewers have given "Too Close To Call" one-star for Toobin's presumed liberal bias. He clearly argues that Floridian's INTENDED choice for President did not win. Those who already disagree with that conclusion will find no comfort here.
Toobin's theme is that while Gore focused on managing the process in a statesmanlike way, the GOP concentrated on winning at any cost. According to this author, Clinton said he would have declared victory, played the race card, fought the inclusion of the controversial military ballots, and encouraged mass protests in the streets. One wonders where such an approach would have led.
The author's harshest criticism is reserved for the US Supreme Court, where Rehnquist and his allies abused their power and behaved as unscrupulous political hacks. Even conservatives find it difficult to defend Rehnquist's action that stopped the statewide recount.Read more ›
That said, this is not an unbiased book. Toobin unquestionably sympathizes with the Gore campaign, and seems to almost root for them. This does not, however, alter his in-depth and accurate reporting of the basic facts of the case, which are laid out clearly and simply, providing a very easy and fun read. He does tend to editorialize, and doubtlessly, the charges against the Bush campaign (that their hypocrites, amorale, and underhanded) are serious compared to those he levels against the Gore campaign (too compromised by their sense of fair play and their desire for positive media attention). However, this does tend to come across as a kind of admiration for the complete devotion of the Bush soldiers, the intelligence of James Baker, and the tenacity of their lawyers.
Overall, this should not be construed as a strictly journalistic work (though it does serve as a good vehicle for learning the facts of the case), but as an entertaining and though-provoking fact-based editorial.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's interesting to read the background after the outcome is already known. I've liked some of his more recent books better.Published 5 days ago by Mark Twain
Must- read for anyone who cares about democracy and real knowledge as to how democracy really works in this country.Published 5 days ago by michael conniff
I'm old enough to remember the 2000 election but, at the time, I didn't follow the aftermath too closely (I was interested, but not interested enough to immerse myself in it). Read morePublished 10 days ago by Kristin
Like most of Toobin's books, this one too takes you behind the scene of the 2000 recount. The problem, as cited by others here, is that Toobin is so clearly biased that it... Read morePublished 15 days ago by abe
Not quite the exciting read I experienced with some of his other efforts. Interesting but too detailed at times.Published 4 months ago by Niall Coldrick
Very biased. Does not have objectivity and is very poorly written. A waste of money and time. Is clearly a puff piece for Gore.Published 5 months ago by Central Texas
I know the story but there were far more details here I learned. It brought back the entire incredulousness and anger of the Supreme Court hearing the case rather forcing a real... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Beverly H. Tatum